Rescue medications are a type of medication used by people with asthma to relieve asthma symptoms (such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath) or to treat an asthma flare-up. They're also known as quick-relief or fast-acting medications because they act quickly to stop symptoms, but the effects aren't long lasting. Most are inhaled and work by relaxing the muscle around the airways (the tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs), making the airways wider and allowing breathing to become easier within minutes. They don't treat the underlying inflammation of the airways - this can require daily treatment with other types of medications called controller medications. Some people with asthma rely only on rescue medications; others use rescue medications together with controller medications to keep their asthma in check overall.